Can I have my money back please? - Penport
I bought an Audi A4 in June 2001 from a local independant dealer (who has a good reputation). The car has electronic climate control and the a/c blew icy cold air when I test drove it. About a week after I picked it up the air was no longer being refrigerated. I took it back to the dealer who got the system regassed. To cut a long story short here we are in October and it's been to 3 different a/c "specialists" on 7 occasions and none of them can find the leak. They regas it and about 2 weeks later I'm back to square one. (The evaporator is sound)
My patience has run out and I've asked the dealer for a full refund on the grounds that the car was never of satisfactory quality under basic consumer rights. He's reluctant to take the car back (presumably because he'll find it difficult to shift) and says that he'll only refund me the current trade value, not the amount I originally paid back in June. He has offered to find me "another vehicle" but will not be pinned down to a value.
Any thoughts, advice etc please ?
Re: Can I have my money back please? - colin
Presumably used. In any event surely the dealer aint got a leg to stand on? I know that the law on cars is strangely different, but I'd have thought threats of legal action woould produce the desired result. What do all you experts think?
Re: Can I have my money back please? - Colin Odell
I've had loads of trouble with Mercedes and my new car (last year) I now have
put it in the hands of Solicitors and Mercedes have ignored his letter. The car is
what I call dangerous, Solicitor agrees, We've sent a second letter, copy to
dealer, who has contacted me, but still no concern shown buy the manufacturer
of the "shoddy car". I'm determined even to go to court over this and I think
much more should be done to expose the outrageous situation in the New Car
trade. Talk in the recent past about Rip Off prices even the build quality is a
Rip Off!!.
Surely someone like Honest John should take up the baton and show up
manufacturers producing poor quality vehicles and how they should be dealt with.
Yours in good Motoring.
Re: Can I have my money back please? - honest john
Can't see why the dealer should give him back what he paid in June. He's had the use of his car since then and the market has also slumped since then. But if he's prepared to pay a reasonable fee for HIRING the car since June, then the dealer probably could afford to give him all his purchase price back.

Re: Can I have my money back please? - Alastair
As HJ says, I think you have let the situation run for a bit too long. With hindsight (wonderful thing) you should have given the dealer 2-3 opportunities to get it sorted and then drawn the line and asked for a refund. As you have taken it to other people and potentially clouded the issue, it may make it harder.
Suggest : Make sure you have written a letter to dealer explaining the nature of your complaint. If you have proof of dates of your return, phone calls etc. all the better. Get written report(s) on the condition of a/c from these other independent guys. Speak to local trading standards, they are often extremely helpful. Take their advice.
As you correctly pointed out, there is an implied warranty (even if no third party warranty was given or bought) when you purchase from the trade i.e. fit for the purpose. If you have a written advert or description of the car made by the dealer which says it has a/c then even better for this.
The dealer 'should' rectify the fault even if it means new a/c system. I think you will be lucky to get a refund at this stage though.

Good luck.
Re: Can I have my money back please? - Mark (Brazil)
I'll go with Alistair.

Too late, no chance of a refund.

Also, HJ has a point. Calculate value of use of car since June, subtract financial loss of not having access to AC (zero) and pay that to get your refund !!

However, you can still insist that the AC is fixed. Not that I know anything about AC, but surely a leak is a leak and can be traced.

Is it a good car otherwise ? Is the dealer basically a good guy ? He sounds like he probably is. It seems he's tried to fix it, offered a realistic, if not generous, refund or a replacement car.

THe slump in the market is not a question of fault, it is relevant to calculating compensation though.

I would think it was worth perservering to get the AC fixed.

Of course, it is possible you just don't want the car anymore.

Can't you do like I used to do when I was a kid ? Put it in a bucket of water and see where the air bubbles come from ?


Re: Can I have my money back please? - Jonathan
The loss for you will be selling a car with duff AC, how much will this depreciate the car?

Re: Can I have my money back please? - Penport
Thanks very much for the opinions
Will let you know how I get on .....

HJ's comments about the market slumping since June - surely that's the dealer's problem, not mine?
Re: Surely the a/c can be fixed?? - Dave N
Surely the a/c can be fixed? How can you be sure the evap is good? They are hard to test, and may show no real signs of leaking, even with dye. Failing that, they can pressurize the system with nitrogen and go along every single piece of pipe and join and check for leaks. If it only lasts 2 weeks it is a BIG leak and can be found with a good electronic leak detector. Problem is, main dealers don't always have the time, expertise, or equipment to do it.
Re: Hang on, John?. - afm

The Dealer bought a car with an AC refrigerant leak, possibly this was why it was sold.

He has it regassed, sells it and, 2 weeks later, the gas has gone; no surprises here. It's like putting water into a bucket with a pinhole in it. The Dealer, or anyone else with a grain of common sense, should have anticipated that this would happen.

Isn't the Dealer at fault, first in selling the car with a latent defect and, secondly, in failing to repair the defect when requested? 7 refills at 2 weeks each takes up 14 weeks.

Penport wants a working car as per contract or, failing that, his money back as a poor second choice.

Who has paid for the 7 refills? If the 3 AC specialists have been sub-contracted by the Dealer, or if they were the Dealer's employees, then perhaps they have given him bad news that he doesn't want to pass on. Possibly an expensive part, like a compressor or the condensor is at fault. If the Dealer is still hoping Penport will take the problem away, leaving him holding the cash, perhaps he has just had the system regassed?

Try an independent AC specialist. Tell them there's a small leak and they should be able to locate it and give a price for repairs. Present the estimate to the Dealer. Add a figure for inconvenience and/or subtract a figure for hire of the car. Repair or money back sounds very reasonable to me. Smile sweetly and be sure to say please. If that doesn't work, sue in the County Court.
Re: Hang on, John?. - me
yep i would take it to the best money no object air con engineer you can find, have all potential problem parts replaced (presumably they would guarantee this work) and then issue a small claims summons for that amount from supplying dealer...
Re: Hang on, John?. - me
btw HJ i know youre in the trade and all that, but really in this case i think you should understand from the consumers point of view that all he ever wanted was a functional car...

what youre describing is what menay dealers would do/or expect to do

its not in line with what would happen in a small claims court
Re: Surely the a/c can be fixed?? - Penport
Dave - you have kindly replied to my earlier postings and pointed me in the direction of the evap and you even recommended an independent - which the dealer personally took the car along to. They couldn' find a leak and wanted the car in for 2 days for a proer investigation, however dealer not happy to fork out for this ......
I agree - surely it can be fixed - but at what price and at whose expense ?
Re: Surely the a/c can be fixed?? - Dave N
I guess you have to pay, then issue a small claims against the garage. Give them one last chance (14 days) to get it fixed, and give a time limit for the repair to last (at least 1 month), then go ahead and sort it yourself, making sure you keep all the paperwork. Then do the small claims part.

In your letter to them, point out you have suffered a loss, therefore they have to put you back to the position you should have been in when you purchased the motor. If they can't do this, then they have to pay someone else to do it for you.

If you want, email me the name of the a/c guys you took it to, and I'll have a word with them, see if there is any more they/we can do.

Let this be a warning to anyone buying a car with duff a/c, or a/c that has just been gassed.
Re: Surely the a/c can be fixed?? - T lucas
I can't see why they cannot repair the a/c its not rocket science.Sounds like nobody wants to pick up the bill.I feel sure that an a/c repairer that knows what he is doing should be capable of sorting it pretty quickly.
Re: Surely the a/c can be fixed?? - Dave N
Well, well, well. Either they didn't look hard enough, or did, and the dealer didn't like the news, as you summise.

It's quite a big job on these, so make sure everything is as it shoud be when you get it back. Make sure you have no warning lights showing, and that everything works, and I mean everything, even things that are unrelated to the a/c. Things like the radio (do you have the code), all the dash lights, climate controls, wipers etc. They should also replace the accumulator, as recommended by Audi when the system is opened up.
Dave N - a question - Penport
Dave - why the accumulator as well ?
Do you know why Audi recommend it's replacement ?
I'll phone deaaler tomorrow to tell him, but some additional info would be helpful. Also where is the accumulator on an A4 ?
Re: Can I have my money back please? - Dave N
Quite simple really. The accumulator contains a desicant that is used to absorb any residual moisture in the system, thereby stopping it from freezing up as it goes around the system. As you've had a leak of gas out, it figures that gas (air) can get in. Air contains massive amounts of moisture, and the desicant can very quickly become saturated. If this happens, the desicant can freeze, stopping the flow of refrigerant, or more worryingly, can break-up and float around the system, contaminating and blocking everything. You then will have a problem.

It is located under the front offside inner wing, accessable by removing the plastic liner from the wheel-well and the front bumper. Cost is usually around £70 for parts. Instructions when fitting, always say that you should only use a sealed new one, and that it must be fitted last and not left open to the atmosphere for more than a few minutes as it will readily start absorbing moisture again.

This is one of the reasons why it is quite an expensive job to do.

Hope it all goes well.
Update - Penport
Got a call from the dealer today - he's had the car for one "last look"
Blow me down - he took it to our local a/c specialist (where it's been 4 times before) and they've identified the evaporator as the problem. He's going to get it fixed at no cost to me.
I told him (after some advice off this board from Dave N) that the most likely problem was the evap several weeks ago ....

So I've got a result - but my cynical brain can't help thinking that he was just waiting to see if I'd give up on my quest for a fully functioning vehicle.

Re: Surely the a/c can be fixed?? - colin
OK, he's had use of the car for four months but, HJ, he has brought the fault to the attention of the dealer. Can I quote from Thames Valley Auto Trader mag. Yes, I know its not a legally based opinion, but, inter alia, when buying from the trade:
" ... The vehicle must be free from defects, except those pointed out to you at the point of sale ... " and
" ... Remember: when buying from a dealer, the Law says that a car must be of satuisfactory quality ... "

Value my car